Joining Hands and Minds

…is a powerful coalition of Aboriginal groups and service providers to support and develop Aboriginal children and families in the south of Adelaide.

This is an extract from the third panel of the painting Diversity of One – Working Together by Indigenous artist Max Mansell. It celebrates the JHM shared lunch event at Port Willunga in January 2011.

It has its origins in a task group formed in the wake of a 2007 conference and consultation with Southern Aboriginal Workers Network, the Southern Elders Group and the ATSI team in Southern Primary Health.

Following the federal government’s apology in February 2008 and the first Joining Hands and Minds Open Space Forum in December 2008, the group, consulting with the Elders, settled on the name Joining Hands and Minds (JHM) Task Group.

‘We make sure that our membership reflects the voice of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people’, says JHM co-chair, Allan Wanganeen, Aboriginal Liaison Officer with Uniting Care Wesley.

‘We believe non-Aboriginal people also need to take responsibility and action to challenge and change beliefs, attitudes and actions that impact on Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and that this should be done in partnership with and informed by Aboriginal community members and service providers.

‘The task group brings the voices of Aboriginal people into its work by building relationships with Aboriginal workers, members of local Aboriginal communities and local Elders and works alongside other activities and forums in the region.’

Co-chairman Chris Martin, Community Development Officer for the City of Onkaparinga, says that JHM provides a much needed opportunity for workers to reflect on their practices and share their stories and resources.

‘The group works in practical ways to educate our workplaces and the wider community, not only on the struggles, but also the rich cultures alive in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.’

JHM’s membership includes Relationships Australia, Southern Primary Health Noarlunga, DECD, DSCI, SAPol, Southern WomenÕs Health, City of Onkaparinga, Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia, Community Partnerships at Work, Southern Junction, Quit SA, The Second Story, Family Relationships Australia, Uniting Care Wesley, CAHMS, Communities for Children and the Southern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service.

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